Tag Archives: Sharon Dunham

Brixton Crisis

Poem by working class poet Sharon Dunham from her 1984 collection Sub Animal Yells about the 1981 Brixton riot.

Brixton Crisis

Violence bursting onto the Brixton street
Don’t pity the policeman,
He chose his own destiny,
A dread picks up a brick,
And hurls it with force,
Born of 400 years of frustration
And we all look on,
And the blind politicians,
Ask what went wrong?
And the blood runs freely,
Down Railton Road,
And we all hear the question,
It’s the answer we know,
The blind will never understand.

Sharon Durham


Doleful Eyes

From Sharon Dunham’s 1984 Centerprise collection, Sub Animal Yells.

Doleful Eyes
For the eternal school leavers

I’m 18 years of age,
Already over the hill,
Give me a job, some respect,
And some money in my hand,
Don’t give me excuses,
I’m not a statistic
Or a leper to be shunned,
You won’t break me you bastards!

Sharon Dunham

Assessment Centre

Poem by working class poet Sharon Dunham from her 1984 collection Sub Animal Yells.

Assessment Centre

When I was a kid,
They put me in an assessment centre
I learnt to swear,
I learnt to steal,
I learnt to become,
What they thought I was.
But throughout my re-shaping,
They couldn’t take away,
My intelligence.
I learnt to use my wit,
I used my cunning instincts
I learnt to assess
Those who were assessing me
And in the end,
I came out un-tainted.

Sharon Dunham

Colin Roach

Poem by working class poet Sharon Dunham from her 1984 collection Sub Animal Yells.

Colin Roach

Down at Stoke Newington nick,
Beneath the grimey streets,
There are rabbit hutches,
They call custody cells,
In these cells,
There are walls,
On these walls,
Are written names and slogans,
Mostly in scratchmarks,
One name is written in blood,
It is the name of Colin Roach,
And because it is written in blood
It can easily erased,
. . . . just like his murder.

Sharon Dunham

Sleazy Disco Night Clubs

Poem by working class poet Sharon Dunham from her 1984 collection Sub Animal Yells.

The Beat That Doesn’t Change

Sleazy disco night clubs,
Where men undress you,
With their beery eyes,
You came to dance?
No chance!
Are you having fun?
Are you going to be the one,
Who’s being had tonight?
The record doesn’t change,
Everynight’s the same,
And it really is a shame,
That people have to,
Live like this.

Sharon Dunham


Punk Poet

Sharon Dunham grew up in care and was a teenage punk. “Late in 1976 I heard a record which knocked me sideawys. It was “Anarchy in the UK” by the Sex Pistols. I began to check out the scene which was emerging in London. By the enlightened it was called a ‘revolutionary youth culture’. The sensationalist daily papers coined the phrase ‘Punk Rock’.
Mark P., an ordinary lad from Deptford had been writing his own fanzine for some time. It was a creative and useful alternative to the national, capitalist ‘Rock Press’. “Sniffin’ Glue” became my bible till I got myself together enough to start my fanzine ‘Apathy in Ilford’. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to write and put forward my ideas. I also wrote articles for ‘Rock Against Racism’ which I became involved with.
After just six months, the scene became a parody of itself. Bands sold out to big business, people began to buy their clothes instead of making them. “Punk” became tame and respectable. Those of us who believed in the original ideas and meanings left, disillusioned, saddened and worst of all, beaten.’
She qualified as a nurse and wrote the poems in her Sub Animal Yells pamphlet during 1982/83. This was published by Centerprise in 1984.
‘In 1983 I approached Centerprise with a view to publication. They mean a lot to me and I hope will be understood by those who read them. I hope it gives encouragement to other working class writers who have been led to believe that the ability to write and create is a middle class privilege. Go home and create something entirelynew!’


Ghetto Blasting

Sitting on a tube train,
Armed with my ghetto blaster,
The revolutionary sounds,
Getting louder, getting faster.
An art rat shakes his trendy head,
A tired punk shakes his leg,
A black kid starts to bodypop,
A city gent starts to see red,
Makes for the door in a wild frenzy
The power I hold in my batteries,
Makes me feel strong,
Bringing music to the streets,
Is that what Malcom McLaren said?

Sharon Durham